Saturday 31 December 2011

Sri.M.K.Thyagaraja Bhagavathar



This old song of late Sri.M.K.Thyagaraja Bhagavathar can never cease to haunt me. While recording this song for the album, "Veena Tharangini" almost 2 decades ago, I strived with all my being to convey the legendary singer's emotions through my fingers and my veena. My life long favourite!!

Wednesday 28 December 2011

D.E..E...E....E.....P.......D.........E.................

Moon (mind) striving to dive into the Ocean Of Bliss

Trying to identify the stages between the most crucial advanced final 3 of meditation (as stated by the Yoga Sutras of Pathanjali) which are dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (absorption) is something like climbing a greasy sliding board from the wrong end.
Initially the base of the spinal chord spreads a wonderful warmth around itself, signalling the awakening of the Divine fragrance. The warmth is only a fragrance, a vague indication of an existence of an all-encompassing Divinity within oneself. This warmth lulls the practitioner into a semi-sleep like blissful feeling which could be termed as "Saannidhyam" (togetherness between 'Jeevatma' and 'Paramatma' within oneself).
The stage beyond the "Saannidhyam" is where one tends to lose oneself. This is the time when the breathing slows down to nothingness, while the region between the eyebrows is gradually illuminated by dazzling white/golden and bluish violet lights. The warmth that started at the base of the spinal chord ascends towards the neck region, as current waves gush in an upward motion, all the way upto the scalp..........
The lower torso feels like a separate body and the hair on the head feels thick as each and every strand of the hair is devouring the upward flow of current waves to form a life of its own!!
There is blessed peace within, surprisingly even on a physical level..........., along side this process and at the back of one's mind springs a startling discovery that even while one is neither inhaling nor exhaling the life within one's body is vibrant! As one continues to meditate while the breathing has stopped, fear propels one to hold on tightly in a vice-like grip to one's consciousness, afraid to tumble into an unknown world ( going by the promise of the Realised Ones that this unknown world is the Ultimate Truth which is the Ocean of Bliss)...........
The temptation to tumble and lose oneself into this unknown world is ever increasing. Is this the same world that has been visited by the Realised Ones and termed as the 'Golden Samadhi'..........the Heaven within oneself .............. the state where 'oneself' becomes 'Oneself'? Whatever..............let..m..e..j...u....s...t.....................d....i....v.........e.............d............................e...............e.........................p..........d.......e.....e.....e.....e..........................

Sunday 25 December 2011

Kalacharya Sironmani


As one of my mother's foremost students I sadly missed attending the award function where my mother was felicitated by VDS Arts Academy with the title of "Kalacharya Sironmani" on December 21st, 2011. The birth of my second grand daughter on December 17th kept me happily busy in Bangalore.
Sri.P.S.Narayanaswamy presenting the award to my mother.

Wednesday 7 December 2011

Mahavatar Babaji




" The imagination is itself a very subtle faculty which can raise the consciousness to higher spiritual levels."

MAHAVATAR BABAJI EXISTS IN THE FORM OF ENERGY......BREATH HIM......

Friday 2 December 2011

Job and cash

Vishnu Gayathri:- "Naaraayanaaya Vidmahey Vaasudevaaya Dheemahee Thanno Vishnu Prachodayaath."

Lakshmi Gayathri:- "Mahadevyaicha Vidmahey Vishnupathnyaicha Dheemahee Thanno Lakshmi Prachodayaath."

For job oppurtunities or promotion/enhancement of professional status:-
Chant first Vishnu Gayathri, second Lakshmi Gayathri and third and finally Vishnu Gayathri. The combined chanting in the same order as stated in the previous sentence for atleast 11 times everyday.

For cash inflow and accumulation of wealth:- Chant first Lakshmi Gayathri, second Vishnu Gayathri and third and finally Lakshmi Gayathri. The combined chanting in the same order as stated in the previous sentence for atleast 11 times everyday.

Wednesday 16 November 2011

Ramana Maharshi's message through Beethoven's Missa Solemnis




Excerpts from Paul Brunton's "Perspectives":-

"I shall never forget the wonderful message which Ramana Maharshi sent me by the lips of an Indian friend (he never wrote letters). It was some years before his death and my friend was visiting the ashram preparatory to a visit to the West, whither he was being sent on a mission by his government. I had long been estranged from the ashram management, and there seemed no likelihood of my ever seeing the saint again. The visitor mentioned to the Maharshi that he intended to meet me: was there any communication of which he could be the bearer? "Yes", said the Maharshi, "When heart speaks to heart, what is there to say?" Now I don't know if He was aware of Beethoven's existence in the distant world of Western music, but I am certain he couldn't have known that the dedication to the "Missa Solemnis" was "May heart speak to heart". This is a work whose infrequent performance stirs me to depths when I hear it, so reverential, so supernal is it. Few know that Beethoven himself regarded the Missa as his greatest composition. It must surely be his most spiritual composition, a perfect expression of the link beteen man and God."
(Posting the article on Bhagawan's auspicious birth star, Punarvasu).
Musical portrayal of The Formidable Self that has neither a beginning nor an end................... (as felt by me each time I listen to this masterpiece composed and performed with astounding perfection of the divine vocals and unparalleled instrumental technique........... dumbfounded!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Tuesday 8 November 2011

Press release of my new assignment as Honorary Director of Tamilnadu Government Music Colleges

























On a rainy November 5th evening at Amma's residence receiving the official orders.
(Click on images to enlarge).

Tuesday 1 November 2011

Victory For Veena!

The past one month in Mumbai, especially Deepavali fireworks displayed right in front of my 7th floor apartment will stay in my memory forever and ever. My mobile rang this evening, the first of many callers informing me that Jaya TV's evening news announced my taking charge as Honorary Director of Tamilnadu Music Colleges.
Confirming the above, I received official confirmation too. The ruling Tamilnadu Government's act of honouring our vedic instrument marks the beginning of my Veena Festival!
Starting to pack my luggage and heading for Chennai, I look up to God for guidance in my new assignment as Honorary Director of TN Music Colleges.

I thank Amma for this great honour!

Friday 30 September 2011

Moola Nakshathram, Sharan Navarthri, October 3rd, 2011

,

Saraswathee Namasthubhyam Varadey Kaamaroopini,
Vidyaarambham Karishyaami Siddhir Bhavathumeysadaa!

(Mamavathu Sri Saraswathi, Composer: Sri.Mysore Vasudevachar, Ragam: Hindolam, Thalam:Adi.
For the fusion album, "Unique". Fusion music composed by late Sri.L.Vaidyanathan. Veena recorded on multi tracks, unique feature-combination of konnakkol and veena.)

Moola Nakshathram is the constellation of Goddess Saraswathi. During Sharan Navarathri the star "Moola" usually comes on Maha Sapthami thithi and considered most auspicious for worshipping the Mother of Knowledge. The three days starting from Moola Nakshathram are dedicated to the worship of Goddess Saraswathi. Maha Navami is celebrated as Ayudha/ Saraswathi Pooja which is on the 5th of October this year.
In "Deivaththin Kural" Maha Periyava has stated that Soundarya Lahari slokas no. 3, 12, 15, 16, 17, 60, 64, 75, 98 and 99 invoke the grace and blessings of Goddess Saraswathi. Slokas no. 96 and 99 invoke the grace of both the Goddesses Lakshmi and Saraswathi. For proficiency in music, slokas 66 and 69.
Point to note:- Aspiring veena artistes not to chant sloka no. 66 alone, but combine sloka no. 66 with sloka no.69. Sloka no. 66's essence is that Goddess Saraswathi discontinues playing the veena and packs the veena or puts the veena away (after listening to the voice of Goddess Parvathi).
Vijayadashami comes with the constellation of Shravana Nakshathram, the constellation in which Lord Balaji was born. The conclusion of Navarathri and Brahmotsavam on the Seven Hills happen together, signifying that Lord Balaji and Goddess Bala Tripurasundari are one and the same.

Monday 26 September 2011

The Body Temple (Part 6) (Secrets of Kasi Temple)


Sri Paramahamsa Sachchidananda Yogeeswarar

As told by the yogi:-

(The secret behind Kasi Temple)


" You all are aware that Kasi Punya Kshethram ( the holy Varanasi, Benaras) is the most famous place for religious worship in our country, India. I will tell you a few facts about the Kasi temple.
When I visited the Kasi temple, on one fine day I went inside the sanctum-sanctorum (Moolasthaanam) of the temple. I stood by a side and observed the temple and its proceedings. The temple was extremely crowded and devotees pushed each other to reach the Shiva Lingam. The crowd was very thick and there was absolutely no space in between the devotees. People who reached the Shiva Lingam sat around the Lingam and poured some water (from their personal individual vessels which they carried with them into the temple) over the Lingam and scrubbed the Lingam with their hands. They poured the remaining water into the pot ("dhaaraapaathra"- pot with a hole in the bottom, facilitating the water to flow out of the bottom of the vessel) tied right on top of the Shiva Lingam. After emptying the water on the Lingam first and then into the holed-pot tied above the Lingam, the devotees placed a few flowers on the Shiva Lingam. In no time and just within seconds of placing the flowers on the Lingam, another devotee would push aside the flowers to pour some water out of his vessel and the rest of the water into the pot tied on top of the Lingam. This process continued for what seemed like eternity while even the "Archakudu" (priest) would push away the flowers the sooner they were placed on top of the Lingam. I found another priest who would gather all the discarded flowers and poured them in a heap in a far corner. He would hurry back to wash and clean within and outside the sanctum-sanctorum.
Devotees who had completed the ritual of wahing the Lingam, pouring the remaining water into the pot tied above the Lingam and placing flowers on the Lingam would take the water floating in the pit of the Lingam to drink the same. I watched all these proceedings with interest for awhile.
After sometime I looked at the front of the Lingam. I discovered that the Nandi was not placed right in front of the Shiva Lingam. The Nandi was placed slightly away from the Lingam. Apart from this, the Balipeetham, Dhwajasthambam, Gopuram (Temple Tower) etc., were not constructed in Kasi temple as per the requirements of temple construction. Nobody who goes on a pilgrimage to the Kasi temple notices all these things. Didn't I tell you that as we enter the temple, the first thing should be the Gopuram, in front of the Gopuram there has to be a Dhwajasthambam, in front of the Dwhwajasthambam a Balipeetham, in front of the Balipeetham a Nandi and in front of the Nandi, finally the Shiva Lingam has to be be placed?I was surprised to see all that missing in the Kasi temple. I was determined to find out the reason behind the misplacement of vital temple requisites. I walked all around the temple and observed. The temple tower (Gopuram), Balipeetham, Dhwajasthambam were nowhere in sight inside the temple. After making sure I did not miss or mistake anything, I walked through an entrance into the temple and looked around the place. There I found a huge ("goppa" in telugu means "great" but in this case the blogger assumes that it could mean "huge") Nandi slightly away from Kasi Visweswara Lingam. But this Nandi faced the same direction as Kasi Visweswara Lingam while presenting its rear side to the Visweswara Lingam. Further to my amazement I discovered that the Nandi sat facing a mosque....."

(To be continued......)

Sunday 4 September 2011

Radhashtami-September5th, 2011.


"Radhe Radhe" by Sri.Shenkottai Hari & Party.

Radha Sthothram:-

" Thvam Devee Jagathaam Maathaa Vishnumaayaa Sanaathanee
Krishnapraanaadidevee Cha Krishnapraanaadhikaashubhaa
Krishnapremamayee Shakthihi Krishnasowbhaagyaroopinee
Krishnabhakthipradey Raadhey Namasthey Mangalapradey."

Sunday 28 August 2011

SONG OF THE SNAKES



"Anantham Vasukim Sesham Padmanaabhamcha Kambalam
Sashaankakapaalam Dhartharaashtram Taakshakam Kaaliyam Thathaa
Ethaani Nava Naamaani Naagaanaam Mahaathmaanaam
Saayankaale Pathennithyam Praathahkaale Viseyshathaha
Thasmi Vishabhayam Naasthi Sarvathra Vijayeebhaveth."

Aslesha Bali pooja is one of the important Kaalasarpa dosha pujas performed at Kukke Subramanya temple near Mangalore in Karnataka. Lord Subramanya is known as the protector from Kaalasarpa dosha and Kuja dosha. Kukke Sri Kshetra temple is the most popular for Sarpadosha puja. Aslesha Bali puja is performed on Aslesha nakshatra in each month. It is believed that if this puja is performed on other days it has no power.
Devotees believe Shravana masa, Karthika masa, and Margashira masa are the most auspicious months to perform Aslesha bali puja at Kukke temple.
The song above is "Magudi", song of the snakes, set to raga Punnagavarali and composed by my father, late Sri.G.Aswathama and rendered by myself (for the fusion album, "Unique", by late composer/violinist Sri L.Vaidyanathan). My sister, Shyamala Sajnani uploaded and sent me the song today which coincidentally happened to be Aslesha Nakshathram!!

Wednesday 24 August 2011

The Body Temple (Part 5)

Sri Paramahamsa Sachchidananda Yogeeswarar

As told by the yogi-
"A community called "Naatukota Chettulu" (probably "Naattukottai Chettiars) have started renovating temples in such a way that the "Moolasthanam" (sanctum-sanctorum) is filled with natural air and light. Fifty three years ago, when I visited Kanchi Ekaambareswara Temple, the temple's "Moolasthanam" used to be pitch-dark. Such a fine temple's meaningful construction of its sanctum-sanctorum was demolished, the walls brought down to be rebuilt (which cost lakhs of rupees) by "Naatukota Chettulu" for natural air and light to enter the "Moolasthanam". The renovation happened 35 years ago. While the renovation was in progress, I visited the temple.
At that time "kalashams" (pots ) were placed approximately 40 feet away (in front of the Lingam )from the Shiva Lingam. A string of thread ran the length between the Shiva Lingam and the Kalashams, one end wound and tied around the Shiva Lingam and the other end wound and tied around a Kalasham. The life-force energy of the Shiva Lingam was extracted and directed into the Kalasham through the strength of "mantram" ("mantra balam"). When the "prana" or life-force energy of the Lingam entered the Kalasham, the connecting thread of string between the Lingam and Kalasham was removed and discarded. After this process all the poojas and worship that were meant for the Shiva Lingam was performed for the Kalasham. Kalasha-pooja continued until the renovation was completed.
Since the Shiva Lingam in the "Moolasthanam" was devoid of life-force energy or "prana" (which is now contained in the Kalasham), poojas were not performed for the Lingam. The Lingam and "Paanu Vattamu" (the blogger has no knowledge of this telugu term) were concealed carefully while the roof on top of the "Moolasthanam" and the walls surrounding the same were all demolished and brought down to renovate the ceiling and walls for the sole purpose of letting natural air and light to enter the sanctum-sanctorum or "Moolasthanam".
The renovation took place for nearly 5 or 6 years. After the renovation was completed, the covers from the Shiva Lingam and "Paanu Vattamu" were removed and the Lingam and "Paanu Vattamu" duly cleansed. Once again the "Kalashams" (pots) were placed in front of the Shiva Lingam. A thread of string connected the Shiva Lingam and the Kalasham by tying one end to the Lingam and the other end to the Kalasham. This time the "prana" or life-force energy which was initially directed from the Lingam to the Kalasham was re-directed to the Shiva Lingam (from the Kalasham) through the power of mantra ("mantra balam"). As soon as the "prana" or life-force energy was directed from the Kalasham and back into the Shiva Lingam, the thread of string was removed and discarded thereby disconnecting the current between the Lingam and Kalasham. Such a procedure is known as "Kumbabhishekam".
On May 5th, 1928 I started my tour (from Chenna Patnam-"Chennai") of mostly Andhra Pradesh and the northern part of India.
Sullurpeta, Nayadupeta, Guduru, Nelluru, Kaavali, Ongolu, Vetapaalayam, Cheerala, Repalle, Gunturu, Narasaraopeta, Vinukonda, Lankelakoorapaadu, Muppaala, Chaagantivaaripaalem, Saththenapalli, Mangalagiri, Bezavaada, Kondapalli, Madhira, Mahadevapuram, Dendukooru, Eerallapaadu, Allinagaram, Vathsavaayi, Chirunomula, Dabbaakupalli, Kambhampaadu, Penuganchiprolu, Anigallapaadu, Maagallu, Nandigaama, Jaggayyapeta, Mukthyaala, Bonakal, Naagulavancha, Khammammettu, Gadvaala, Hyderaabaadu, Palakanaama, Kollooru, Shikinderaabaadu, Maddikera, Paththikonda, Vuruvakonda, Gunthakallu, Joharaapuram, Aadoni, Bellaary, Hosapeta, Hampi, Paamarru, Kovvaada, Mahadevapattanam, Undi, Bheemavaram, Vedangi, Paalakollu, Narasaapuram (blogger's native place), Nidadavolu, SreeShanthi Ashramamamu, Rajahmundry, Kodoorupaadu, Amalaapuram, Ramachandraapuram, Kaakinaada, Saamarlakota, Peddaapuram, Thuni, Bheemavarapukota, Nakkapalli, Yelamanchili, Anakaapalli, Narasipaatanam, Chodavaram, Visaakhapatnam, Bheemunipatnam, Amanaam, Vizianagaram, Saalooru, Jayapuram, Bobbili, Paarvathipuram, Veeraghattam, Paalakonda, Raazaam, Cheepurupalli, Aamudaalavalasa, Srikaakulam, Heeramandalam, Parlaakimidi, Tekkali, Naupaada, Palaasa, Ananthagiri, Braahmanatharla, Sompeta, Ichchaapuram, Berhampuram, Askaa, Rasoolkonda, Chathrapuram, Khuradaaroaddu, Jagannaadham, Cuttack, Kharaghpur, Thaathaanagar, Chakradharapooru, Aadraa, Gaya, Kaashi, Prayaaga, Calcutta, etc. (including various districts, talukas, cities, towns and villages). I have toured all the above mentioned places and given religious lectures apart from clarifying the doubts of men and women folk on religious matters.
I have even visited all the Saivite temples in the above places and inspected whether the temples were constructed in accordance to requirements of temple-shasthras (customs).
I observed that only the Shiva temples in Andhra Pradesh were not built in the required manner.
In the temples in Andhra Pradesh, I found that there was no "Bali Peetham" in front of the "Dwajasthambam". The Shiva temple in a small village called Paalakonda (in Visaakhapatnam district) has the "Bali Peetham" in front of the "Gopuram" (temple tower). The "Dwajasthamabam" is placed only after one crosses the "Bali Peetham" . The "Dwajasthambam" should never be placed in between the "Moolasthanam" and the "Bali Peetham". I will tell you the reason.
The human feet (all the ten fingers of the feet) represent the "Kalashams" on the temple tower, the male organ is the "Dwjasthambam", the "naabhi" (navel region) is the "Bali Peetham", The "Hrudya Kamalam" (Anaahatha Chakram) between the two breasts represent the Nandi, the region in the "Brahma Kapaalam" (top of the head) is the residence of Lord Shiva . Therefore the placements in temples are not be interchanged, like the Shiva temple in Paalakonda. I could see that only in Paalakonda the placements of the "Bali Peetham" and the "Dwajasthambam" were interchanged. In the rest of the Shiva and Vishnu temples of Andhra Pradesh, there was a complete absence of "Bali Peethams". I think the natives of Andhra are not aware of the concept of "Bali Peetham". Through my religious lectures, I had educated the natives about the secrets and significance of Shiva temples.
Now I will come to the magnificent secret about the temple of Varanasi........."

(To be continued.........)

Friday 12 August 2011

My mother's very rare concert!



My mother and Guru, Smt.Kamala Aswathama's rare concert (maybe one of her couple of concerts after her marriage) in Sydney in the year 2002 when she went there to preside over her disciple Preethi's (my dear friend Manju's daughter) Veena Arangetram. My mother's discomfort while performing is evident (she performed to please Manju who had organised this concert). Manju's teasing laughter can be heard after my mother's second announcement :)!! All the three compositions are by my late father, Sri.G.Aswathama.

Wednesday 10 August 2011

The Body Temple (Part 4)

Sri Paramahamsa Sachchidananda Yogeeswarar

As told by the yogi:-

"..... The human body is the temple. The top-centre of the head, "Brahma Kapalam" is equivalent to the temple's "Moolasthaanam" (sanctum-sanctorum). The human brain is just below the "Brahma Kapalam" ( top-centre of the head region). The human brain is covered by an extremely thin layer of skin. This white and red coloured human brain is not only encircled in multiple rings but also encompassed by ultra-thin red coloured nerves.This portion is also known as the "Sahasraara Chakra." In between the brain and the "Brahma Kapalam" there is darkness. God is situated in this tiny portion of darkness which is also referred to as the "Cave of Brahma". Therefore the "Moolasthaanams" (sanctum-sanctorum) in temples are designed to be dark, to depict the presence of God in the darkness between the human brain and the top-centre ("Brahma Kapalam") of the human head.(You may refer to the diagram above.)
Many ignorant devotees have commented that temples should be designed to allow plenty of air and light into the "Moolasthaanams." Not only that, many wealthy devotees have gone to the extent of re-building new temples that allow plenty of light and air into the "Moolasthaanams" which is blasphemous. Devotees, without proper understanding of the science and relationship between the human body and the temple should not involve in the construction of temples.
Kindly listen to my personal experience:-
Chingleput District is in the state of Tamilnadu. The most holy temple town, Sri Kanchi is situated in Chingleput District. I was born in this holiest of holy places called Sri Kanchipuram. In this temple town, there is a Siva Temple in the name of Sri Ekaambareeswara. This temple was built by great scholars of yore during ancient times. The author of this article ( Yogi Sachchidananda Yogeeswarar), that is myself, had visited the temple in the year 1875, exactly 55 years ago ( the year, 1920 of authoring this religious text). In the Saivite temples which were constructed in ancient times, the darkness used to spread gradually, starting from the Nandi itself. The darkness gradually spreads and increases in intensity as the devotee proceeds towards the sanctum-sanctorum ("Moolasthaanam"). I walked in such darkness and reached the "Moolasthaanam". I found a flickering ghee lamp only next to the Shiva-Lingam and not anywhere else on the way to the "Moolasthaanam". I have already explained the reason why a "Moolasthaanam" is required to be dark (just like the darkness between human brain and the top-centre of human head or "Brahma Kapalam" of a human being which is the place of God also known as the "Cave of Brahma".)
Temples which were built by knowledgeable devotees were designed to be pitch-dark in the sanctum-sanctorum, the darkness spreading gradually from the Nandi and intesifying as it reaches the "Moolasthaanam" where it is totally pitch-dark. Many such meaningful temples were destroyed 253 years ago in communal riots.

(To be continued............)

Thursday 28 July 2011

The Body Temple (Part 3)


Sri Paramahamsa Sachchidananda Yogeeswarar

As told by the yogi:-

"...That is why elders have always said that Lord Shiva is "Abhisheka Priya" (The One who is fond of ablution).In that manner the learned elders made sure that the water from the 'ragi' vessel was positioned on top of Lord Shiva's head which was a part of Shiva Linga before they left the temple. After a few days the learned elders went back to the temple to check ( with the aid of their yogic insight )whether the water from the 'ragi' vessel which was tied right on top of the Shiva Lingam had successfully cooled the yogic fire of Lord Shiva. They found out that the temperature of the yogic fire of Lord Shiva was brought down only to a certain degree and not fully to their satisfaction.
Following is what they did to cool down the yogic fire of Lord Shiva fully.
In the beginning when the temple was built, a 'ragi' vessel was not tied on top of the Lingam with water pouring down, neither was there a 'Nandi' in front of the Lingam. The tying of 'ragi' vessel filled with water on top of the Lingam and placing the idol of 'Nandi' in front of the Lingam were all done only after these learned religious pundits were able to assess the presence of Lord Shiva's head in the Lingam (through their yogic insight). I shall narrate the reason why these learned scholars installed the idol of 'Nandi' in front of the Lingam, please listen to me.
Bull (Vrishabham) is the vehicle for Lord Shiva. The bull grazes in the landscape outside the temple and later comes inside the temple to lie down randomly, chewing on the grass. At such a time, if Lord Shiva wants to Grace a particular devotee (who has been doing penance for several years), He comes out of the Lingam and attaining the human form He beckons the cud-chewing bull to mount the animal, speeds to the devotee whose penance had fructified, grants the devotee his desired boons, returns to the temple riding the bull, alights from the bull and reenters the Lingam. As soon as the Lord alights from the bull to reenter the Lingam, the bull once again goes out of the temple to graze and return to the temple to lie down somewhere chewing grass. I shall tell you how the learned elders instructed the bull.
They called out,
"Oh, Nandi, please come here!"
The Nandi obediently came to stand close to the elders as soon as it was beckoned. The elders then seated the Nandi right oppsosite the Lingam and placing their thumb and index fingers on its horns tried to assess the alignment between the centre of the Lingam and the middle of the Nandi's nostrils. After adjusting the Nandi's face for perfect alignment between the points between the mid-nostrils of the Nandi and the centre of the Lingam, the elders spoke to the Nandi as follows:-
"Oh, Nandi! From today onwards, please do not go anywhere and remain seated in the same position. Fan the Lord with your breath of inhalation and exhalation."
Having said thus to the Nandi, they beckoned the Pujari of the Temple,
"Oh, Archaka! From today make sure that men and women who come to the temple to pray do not come inbetween the Nanadi and the Lingam to enter the "Moola Sthaanam". Please ask them to enter either from the left or right side of the Nandi." The elders only told that much to the Pujari , without explaining the entire science behind the position of the Nandi. Thus the Pujari remained ignorant of the science behind the placement of Nandi right in front of the Lingam. The fact has been illustrated in the diagram above. I shall further explain why the Nandi is seated right opposite the Lingam.
Devotees who come to the temple place their index finger and thumb on top of the Nandi's horns to view Lord Shiva without knowing the science behind the act. The devotees are ignorant of the fact that the Nandi is seated in front of the Lingam to cool the yogic heat of the Lord by fanning the Lingam with its inhalation/exhalation process.
After some days the learned elders came back to the temple to find out through their yogic powers, if the yogic heat of the Lingam was nullified by the aid of the Nandi's breath-fanning. They were delighted when they discovered that the yogic heat of the Lingam was fully cooled and erased. The elders who were very pleased instructed the Nandi and the temple Pujari one more time to continue in the same manner and went back to their residences.
After these arrangements continued, there came a time when Lord Shiva who was residing in the Lingam felt compassionate towards a devotee whose penance had been continuing in all its intensity for several years. The Lord wanted to Grace His devotee and came out of the Lingam. As He stepped out of the Lingam, He instantly became heated in His own yogic heat as He came out of the dripping water from the 'ragi' vessel above and the fanning of the Nandi's inhalation and exhalation process. The Lord unable to bear His own heat beckoned the Holy river Ganges and tied Her up in His thick braids. Instantly cooling down He went to attend to His devotee, granting him desired boons and returned to the temple. As he stepped close to the Lingam, He released the Holy Ganges from His braids and sent Her back to Her place before entering the Lingam to be in His state of yogic self-absorption.
Now I will explain to you why only in Saivite temples Nandis are placed in front of the Lingam and not in Vaishnavite temples. Why is Garuthmantha (the Eagle-vehicle of Lord Vishnu) not placed right in front of Lord Vishnu? I will tell you the reason! Lord Vishnu is the Sustainer and does not remain in yogic self-absorption. Consequently, Lord Vishnu's body is not heated due to yogic fire. There is no need for Vishnu's vehicle, Lord Garuthmantha to fan Lord Vishnu with his inhalation and exhalation.
That is why in Vaishnavite temples the temple tower (Gopuram) comes first, then the "Dhwajasthambham", the Bali Peetham in front of the Dhwajasthambam, and the Moola Sthaanam (inner sanctorum) from the Bali Peetham and nothing else in between the Bali Peetham and the Moola Sthaanam. All the Vaishnavite temples are constructed in the above fashion. A few learned religious authorities have erected Lord Anjaneya's idol between the Bali Peetham and the Moola Sthaanam.
In Saivite temples, as we enter the temple we find that starting from the Nandi the darkness spreads around the area and the darkness increases as we reach the Moola Sthaanam. The darkness in the Moola Sthaanam where God resides is maximized and a ghee-lit lamp flickers near the Lord. We can also notice that there are no other lamps all the way upto the Moola Sthaanam where God resides.
Oh Andhra-residents of Ganjaam, Visakhapatnam, Godavari, Krishna, Nellore districts and towns, I have visited all the temples in your areas when I toured the state. Alas, I found that the Moola Sthaanams in all the temples in your areas are not dark. I had even visited the magnificent temple of Varanasi, even there the Moola Sthaanam is not dark! The Moola Sthaanams of temples in Chennapuri, South of Chennapuri, starting from Chengalput District all the way upto Rameswaram have been constructed by our ancient learned elders designed to make the area of the Moola Sthaanam pitch-dark. I fail to understand why in Andhra Pradesh the temples have not been designed to make the Moola Sthaanams dark.
Anyway, let me explain why the Moola Sthaanams of Saivite temples in Tamilnadu are pitch-dark..."

(To be continued........)

The Body Temple (Part 2)

a
Sri Paramahamsa Sachchidananda Yogeeswarar


As told by the yogi:-
"Samadhi is a state where the practitioner succeeds in fully controlling his mind by shutting his mind to all mundane thoughts. Therefore devotees who go to the sanctum-santorum to have the darshan of God should not seek material favours. The devotee's only wish and aspiration should be to attain the Lotus feet of the Lord. With a clean and pure heart and with a steady gaze (by not looking here and there) the devotee has to enter the sanctum-santorum of the temple. The mind becomes fickle if the devotee allows his/her gaze to wander here and there. A fickle mind invites desire.Therefore the devotees should focus there total attention and thought on God as they enter the sanctum-santorum of the temple.

At the entrance of the sanctum-santorum, the devotee will find "nandi" seatedin front of the Sivalingam(please find the arrow mark on the chest region of the author indicating the placement of "nandi" in front of the Sivalingam.

Few devotees walk right in front of "nandi" as they enter the sanctum-santorumof the temple. Such devotees are immediately corrected by the temple priest,"Please do not obstruct the "nandi". Kindly walk to the right side or left side of the "nandi". Then the devotees would want toknow the reason why they should not obstruct the "nandi".The priest replies, "I do not know the reason why "nandi" should not be obstructed.I am only repeating what the elders have preached!"The priest is ignorant, I will tell why one should not walk in front of the "nandi".

Lord Siva is a great yogi. He therefore is always immersed in yogic fire. The Siva temple was built at the time of creation. Few learned and elderly men visited the temple at that time. They stood right in front of the Sivalingam and as they viewed the Lingam through their yogic gaze they realised that the Lord was full of yogic fire. I shall tell you what those elders did to cool the yogic fire of the Sivalingam.

They instructed the temple priest to tie a vessel made out of "ragi" metal (the vessel has a wide opening, narrowing down at the bottom which has a small hole) to chains in such a position and manner so that the vessel is positioned right on top of the Sivalingam. The elders instructed the priest to keep the vessel full of water at all times, so that the water flowed continuosly in a thin line through the hole over the Sivalingam. (You may find the water flowing steadily in a thin line
in the "Body temple" diagram).
Cold water is heating and hot water is cooling .There is a famous saying, "Ushnam Ushnena Sheethalam" (heat combined with heat produces coolness). The cold water (which is heating by nature ) pouring slowly and steadily on to the Sivalingam makes contact with the heat produced by the yogic fire of the Lord. By applying cold water's heat, the temperature of the yogic fire of the Lord is instantly brought down and cooled."

(To be continued....)

The Body temple (Part 1)


Click on the photograph (of Sri Paramahamsa Sachchidanada Yogeeswarar) to enlarge.
Cuddapah Sri Paramahamsa Sachchidananda Yogeeswarar, born in Kanchipuram on February 16th, 1865 and attained 'nirvikalpa samadhi' on January 7th, 1957, was a great devotee of Ekaambreswara Nadha of Kanchipuram from the age of 12. It is believed that He had the darshan of Lord Ekaambreswara in the guise of a sage. The website www.cuddapahswami.org has lot more information about His Holiness.
In His book, "Shareeradevaalaya Rahasyaardhapaarijaathamu", His Holiness Sri Paramahamsa Sachchidananda Yogeeswarar has shown His body as the temple of God. He has explained as follows:-
As per the photograph above, in the lying posture, He has stated that the elders have determined the feet to be the "Gopuram" (tower) of temple.The ten fingers outlining both the feet are the ten "Kalashams" on top of the Gopuram. As we enter the temple through the "Gopuram-Feet", we first encounter "Prajaapathi" in the form of the "Dhwajasthambam"(Prajapathi is the Supreme God Who presides over procreation and is the Protector of the Universe).
In order to dispel any doubts that may arise in the minds of the readers, His Holiness has explained why the male reproductive organ is depicted as Prajaapathi. As the Creator of women, men, elephants, horses, cows, buffaloes, donkeys, dogs, deers, other wild and tame animals, crawling creatures like snakes, tortoises, ants, bugs,worms etc. and flying creatures like innumerable varieties of birds, mosquitoes, creatures that live in water like fish, and other sea -creatures, it is but natural that the reproductive organ of the male stands for the Dhwajasthambam. The primary deity for Prajaapathi is Lord Brahma according to epics. Moreover, the navel is placed in front of Prajaapathi. This navel represents the "Bali Peetham". The Bali Peetham is where the sacrifice is performed. His Holiness has named the 10 sacrifices one must perform in this place:-
1)Desire:- Desire for somebody's wife, one's own wife, sons, daughters, wealth, accumulation of property. Narakasura had perished due to this quality.
2)Anger:-Unable to bear other's prosperity and even attempting to hinder their growth. Bakasura had perished due this quality.
3)Selfishness:-Enjoying one's own wealth greedily, not sharing even a little with anybody. Duryodhana had perished due to this quality.
4)Fascination:-For mother, children, spouse, not being satisfied with one's own wealth-trying to accumulate more and more property. King Dasharadha had perished due to fascination for son, Lord Rama.
5)Arrogance:- Excessive success and accumulation of wealth could lead one to this state, where the native does not care for the feelings of others. Karthaveeryaarjuna perished due to this quality.
6)Spitefulness:-Not being able to bear others' prosperity even though the native himself is prosperous and happy. Trying to subjugate others and their growth. Sishupala became the victim of Lord Krishna's discus due to this quality.
7)Pomposity:-Giving charity, performing "yagnas"(holy rituals) on a grand scale only to impress others. Puroorava Chakravarthi is a fine example of this quality.
8)Condescension:-Assuming oneself to be the greatest in personal and monetary affairs. Parashurama had this quality.
9) Intolerance and ill-will:-Wishing that others are as unhappy as oneself. Hari Sakshi had this quality.
10)Jealousy/Envy:-Trying to harm those who have harmed you. Poundareeka Vasudeva had this quality.
Even if men and women do not possess every quality mentioned above, they may have atleast one or two qualities out of the 10 bad qualities. Therefore, these qualities have to be sacrificed at the "Bali Peetham" (navel) to enter the sanctum santorum of the temple with a cleansed and purified heart and mind.
The process of sacrificing the bad qualities at the "Bali Peetham" is as follows:-

As we enter the temple tower (Gopuram), and past the "Dhwajasthambam", we must stand next to the "Bali Peetham" with folded hands praying fervently, "I am sacrificing all my bad qualities and tendencies here at the 'Bali Peetha'. Now I do not possess bad qualities. Now I am going to enter the sanctum santorum of the temple to have the 'darshan' of God."
After offering salutations to the "Bali Peetham" and purifying ourselves we must enter the "Moola Sthaanam" (sanctum santorum) of the temple without any thought or feeling. When we are able to enter the 'moola sthanam' totally devoid of thought or feeling, such a state is called as "Samadhi."
(To be continued.....)

Wednesday 27 July 2011

THALLI-GURUVU

Aim Hreem Shreem Aim Kleem Sowm Shree Maathrey Namaha.
Shree Gurubhyo Namaha.

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Hamsa




Swan is a bird of elegance, beauty and purity. Hamsa in Hinduism is the bird vehicle of the Goddess of Learning, Saraswathi. The swan-shaped constellation, Cygnus in the zodiac sign, Libra is believed to be the seat of Goddess Saraswathi from where scientists, many decades ago detected a hissing noise defined as the "Omkara" which pervades the Universe and oneself.
Vedic astrology states that 'Hamsa Yoga' occurs when Jupiter is in a kendra from the ascendant or the moon, in his own place or in the sign of exaltation (Cancer), should neither be combust nor conjoined with malefics or aspected by the same.
Results of Hamsa Yoga:-power of discrimination, equanimity of mind, mental state of a yogi while leading the life of a King (yogi/bhogi).
'Parama-hamsa' means 'Supreme Swan', applicable to evolved souls and Spiritual Gurus (like Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa).
Hamsa also figures in Soundarya Lahari, for example, the 38th sloka is as follows:-

"Samunmeelathsamvithkamalamakarandaikarasikam
Bhaje Hamsadvandvam Kimapi Mahathaam Maanasacharam
Yadaalaapaadashtaadashagunithavidyaaparinathihi
Yadaadaththey Doshaagunamakhilamadbhayaha Paya Iva."

Meaning of the sloka: "O Mother, I adore the pair of swans (Shiva-Shakthi) who take delight in imbibing the honey of the full-blown lotus of knowledge of the anaahatha chakra (heart chakra), and who swim in the minds of the great. Their mutual conversation is what have become the eighteen arts, and they separate good from evil, the way the swans separate milk from water."

The twin swans are depicted as Shiva-Shakthi and known for their power of discrimination.

In my recent trip to a famous park, I visited cottages representing various countries and their respective spiritual/cultural beliefs. Walking into the House Of Persia, I was fascinated to find information about the significance of the word "Hamsa" in Hebrew and Arabic. Hamsa finds place in Jewish Kabbalah, Islam and Judaism for centuries, but archeological research reveals that Hamsa originated with the Phoenicians (Phoenicia was an ancient civilization in Canaan, and most of the Phoenician cities were built along the coastline of the Mediterranean.) and associated with an ancient Middle Eastern Goddess.
The famous "Hamsa Hand" is an ancient Middle Eastern Amulet bringing its wearer great prosperity, joy, health and spiritual upliftment. It is also known as the "Hand Of Miriam" named for the sister of Moses and Aaron.
The word "Hamsa" (Arabic) or "Hamesh" (Hebrew) means five representing the five books of Torah for Jews, fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, "Heh" which represents God's holy names, Five Pillars of Islam for Sunnis, Five People of the Cloak for Shi'ites. For the Jews it reminded them of the five senses to be used for the praise of God.

Top photo is of the Phoenician Goddess of fertility Astarte (Goddess Lilith according to Jewish mythology) displaying Her open palms, second photo,Hindu Goddess of Learning, Saraswathi, third photo, Hamsa Hand Amulet of the Middle East.

Wednesday 13 July 2011

81st birthday !



Smt and Sri M.Balamuralikrishna


81st birthday celebrations of Dr.M.Balamuralikrishna, the legendary singer/composer of unparalleled brilliance on the 11th of July. I sought his blessings on phone since I was not in Chennai for the event held at AVM Rajeswari Kalyana Mandapam on July 11th,2011. My best wishes to his wife, Smt.Annapurna and family on the occasion!



Monday 4 July 2011

Poochi Thillana


Late Sri.T.M.Thiagarajan

This Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar's thillana in Hindolam, set to adi thalam (tisra nadai) is one of my favourites, I particularly enjoyed learning this piece from my Guru, late Sri.TMT.


Wednesday 22 June 2011

Tantra in daily life (Part 8)


Those were days when I was studying 8th or 9th standard in school. I remember a Sunday morning when I woke up, jumped out of bed and ran sleepy eyed and groggy to the drawing room, to grab Indian Express before my father or anybody else at home laid there hands on the copy.
My classmate had to remind me many times the previous day (Saturdays were always half-a-days at school) to go through Peter Vidal's weekly forecast ( looking animated, she told me fervently in true schoolgirl spirit,"don't forget to read Peter Vidal's column in Indian Express ya, it is soooooooo true ya!! EVERYTHING he writes comes true, it is like magic ya!! Surely it will come true even for you ya!!). Even though I had my own doubts, I was curious as hell, I replied, "Yes ya!!"
My heart beating fast I scanned the magazine section hoping to find fairy tale stuff for Scorpios. I still remember how let down I felt when I read what was predicted for Scorpios. The forecast was all about repairs of old pipelines being a grand success that week and also a possible visit to the doctor towards mid-week. So much for my friend's great recommendation!I prayed fervently to God that the prediction should not come true, till date I hate going to the doctor and old or new,pipelines simply do not exist in my world!
The next day in school I had a tiff with my classmate about Peter Vidal. "All lies, I don't believe his prediction ya!" Looking very hurt she replied ardently, "No ya, even this week what he wrote about me came true!"
"Maybe he hates Scorpios!" I said heatedly.
"Nothing of that sort ya! Even for me the first few weeks nothing came true ya, after 3 or 4 weeks everything he said started coming true, as though he is writing only for my sake, it is like magic!"
"Don't tell me for you Librans he writes all about chocolate houses and picnics to great places and only for Scorpios he predicts old pipeline repairs!"
Wide eyed she replied, "No ya, once he wrote that I would meet with an accident. I was very careful and alert while walking on the road, but you know what?! I slipped and fell in my bathroom!"
"Really!!" fascinated, I decided to wait patiently for his predictions about Scorpios to come true.
The predictions for the following 2 to 3 weeks had no effect on my routine life but my interest in reading Peter Vidal's forecast stuck on and I continued to read his star forecast every Sunday without fail.
Around the 4th Sunday it suddenly struck me that the previous week went on just as Peter Vidal had predicted. Instantly alerted, I went through the star forecast for the following week with renewed interest. While reading the forecast I had a strong hunch that the prediction was going to come true the forthcoming week and Voila- the week turned out to be as predicted!
Gradually the weekly predictions, if not all of them, atleast most of them shaped into reality for me and I became a dedicated follower of Peter Vidal.
Somewhere along the line I lost touch with his columns but coming to think of the whole thing I firmly believe that there has to be a certain mechanism behind the manifestation of something as mundane as general forecast of sun signs. Only natal horoscope charts of individuals contain intricate dimensions of his/her nature, personality and events related to past, present and future of the native. Whereas a general forecast is based on mere sun signs and every sun sign relates to zillions of natives around the world and for the entire world to go through only 12 kinds (based on 12 sun signs)of events or circumstances every week is ridiculous if not bizarre!
The secret behind the materialization of a star forecast:- Those natives for whom the predictions fail are mostly the ones who are not reading the astrologer's columns!An avid follower of forecast columns is usually optimistic or wants solutions to his/her problems.
Therefore, those who go through the forecast are wishing/hoping/praying for the predictions to come true or bear fruit. Fervent hope and belief in the prediction are the driving forces behind its manifestation!
Our thoughts and beliefs are our lives. Instead of allowing somebody else to shape our lives according to their forecast,we could very well write down our own forecast. Just pen your dreams, desires and ambitions, with as much colour as you want. Believe in what you write! Let the writings be in present tense! They may sound like affirmations, no harm!
Maybe the first 2 or 3 weeks nothing may happen, but watch from the 4th week onwards- as accurate as Peter Vidal's forecast and just as my classmate said, it will be MAGIC ya!!
(To be continued.....)

Saturday 18 June 2011

Sri Venkatachala Mahathyam (wedding chapter 148-156)

Lord Agni Deva who cooked the feast for the Lord's wedding

(Continued from June 4th, 2010 posting)

148)Ithi Devasya Vaakyaani Prashashamsurmaharshyaha!
Thadhaa Cha Kruthavaan Jaathavedaahaa Vedavishaaradhaha!!

Meaning:
The sages and monks in the gathering were pleased by the Lord's instructions. The learned Vedic scholar that He was, Agnihothra carried out the Lord's wishes.

149)Evam Vichithrakarmaani Harervaikunthavaasinaha!
Yugaanusaarinasthasya Thadbhuthavidambanam!!

Meaning:
It was fascinating to witness the Lord who resides in Vaikuntha, The One who reincarnates as the celebrated Forms according to "yugas" ( name of an 'epoch' or 'era' consisting of four yugas namely, 'Sathya Yuga", 'Threthaa Yuga', 'Daapara Yuga' and 'Kali Yuga') behaving like a human being!

150)Achinthyam Devathaakaaryam Avaangmanasagocharam!
Agnihi:-
Dadhyodanathilaanne Cha Paramaannam Madhusravam!!

Meaning:
The words and deeds of God are beyond human mind or speech!
Afterwards, Agnihothra went ahead and prepared curd rice, rice mixed with sesame seeds, and sweet rice kheer dripping of honey.

151)Maashaapoopaahaa Gudaapoopaahaa Shaakadvaya Mathaha Param!
Sarvam Supakvathaam Neetham Thvathprasaadeyna Keshava!!

Meaning:
Snacks made of Urad Dhal, sweet pancakes made of jaggery, two varieties of vegetable curries have been prepared due to the Grace of Thee!!

152)Amanthraya Dvijendraamscha Suraanapi Muneenapi!
Agnivaaneem Samaakarnya Sreenivaaso Niraamayaha!!

Meaning:
...So please invite the learned brahmins, Devaas and sages' and Lord Sreenivasa felt pacified and to invite them....

153)Sampreshayachchivasutham Shanmukham Midhileshwara!
SREE SESHAADRAUKASHYAPAADIBHYO BRAHMAADIKRUTHOPACHAARAPRAKAARAHA
Sajagaamaathiveygeyna Japathognipraayanaan!!

Meaning:
The Lord called out to Janaka Maharaja to summon Lord Shanmukha, son of Lord Shiva.
ON SESHAACHALAA LORD BRAHMA WAS PAYING OBEISANCE TO SAGE KASHYAPA.
Lord Shanmukha rushed towards in their direction and hastened Lord Brahma, Sage Kashyapa and the pit of fire (agnihothra) surrounded by mantra-chanting...

154)Braahmanaan Vedavidushaha Aajuhaava Janaadhipa!
Paaka Ssampoornathaam Uththishtatha Suradijaaha!!

Meaning:
Learned brahmin scholars who are the best among twice born, noble personages! Please be kind enough to grace the luncheon, the food is ready!!

155)Ithi Thena Samaahoothaahaa Kashyapaathripurogamaaha!
Devaashcha Nikatam Thasya Paakasthaanasya Bhejirey!!

Meaning:
On receiving the invitation, Sage Kashyapa and Sage Athri in the company of other learned sages and Devaas rushed towards he dining hall.

156)Vibhajya Thathra Vidhivath Paathrabhoothaan Prudhak Prudhak!
Panktheeshcha Kaarayithvaadha Thaarathamyaanusaarathaha!!

Meaning:
Lord Shiva who was assigned the duty of attending to the guests, seated them in different groups according to their ranks.

(To be continued....)

Wednesday 15 June 2011

Khatir Se Hardum, Naam Raam Se/Bhakta Ramadasu





Music direction by my father, late Sri.G.Aswathama and sung by late Sri.Mohammed Rafi.

Saturday 11 June 2011

Subbalakshmi Sathyanand's Veena Recital

http://www.swaralahari.org/site/playvideo.php?concertid=165

Tantra in daily life (Part 7)

Tripura Bhairavi:-Hormonal balance in females, cure of problems related to menopause, courage and ability to cross hurdles and defeat of enemies.(She is the matured and tougher form of Tripurasundari, in whom menstruation has stopped completely. She is fierce and She is the Supreme Goddess who creates, sustains and at the same time destroys the manifested world.)
Raga Bhairavi in all its sublime melody represents Tripura Bhairavi.





Tripurasundari:- Beauty, charm, enhancement of feminine elegance (in male practitioners enhancement of overall charm), magnetism towards opposite sex, ability to entice people, charismatic looks /demeanour and influence in high places, contacts with royal personages.(This Red Goddess is an enchanting beauty of the Three Cities, in Her prime of youth. She is the main Goddess worshipped by Tantriks who belong to the Shaaktha tradition called as "Srividya Upasana.")
Raga Kalyani invokes Her. The delicate and delicious nuances of Kalyani epitomise and bring to life the form of Maha Tripurasundari in all Her beauty, grace and passion. Contemplation of this raga establishes contact with this Divine Beauty.





Balatripurasundari (Child form of Tripurasundari):-Brilliance, mental agility, dynamism and tremendous ease in achieving goals.(Bala is the child form of Tripurasundari and believed to be accessible and merciful to Her devotees. Her child-state makes the path easier for the practitioner to reach Her. Child that She is, She responds readily with eagerness and innocence. The best Form to worship.)

Raga Sudhdha dhanyasi cascades into Her form.

Sudhdha Saveri is the basic and general raga of all forms of Shakthi.

(To be continued.....)






Friday 10 June 2011

Jasmine Strings


SMT.SUBBALAKSHMI SATHYANAND (Strings of heavenly resonance and fragrance).

"A little girl just like you is going to play veena this evening in our sabha." Late Sri. Venkatakrishnan,President of Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha told me. As a tiny tot of nine, I was fascinated.
"Oh, who is she?" I asked him curiously.
"Her name is Meduri Subbalakshmi, like you even she is from Andhra. Come to the sabha and listen to her."
As I recall,that evening I was taken to the greenroom where Subbalakshmi was sitting demurely next to her veena, the tuning of tambura and mridangam in progress. Her sparkling nose stud and clear white blouse on top of her long silk skirt remain in my memory even now. I remember wishing for curly hair like hers. She looked my age, quiet and reserved. We smiled shyly as we were introduced to each other.I found her a lot more quieter than me as I jumped all over the place uninhibitedly.
Showtime and Subbalakshmi was shown the stage and myself a seat in the front row.
Her playing took my breath away right from the start! She was a natural with veena. Her plucking and left hand technique were absolutely aesthetic and stunning! Till date I remember her Kalyani and the excellent nuances she had produced in the raga.I looked at her with new eyes, noticing the uniqueness about her.
After that we met whenever she visited Madras to perform, ate together, and spoke affectionately to each other.There was never any tension or that weird sense of alertness between us while interacting with each other as veena artistes.
We gradually lost touch and later I heard that she got married and settled well (presently known as Smt. Subbalakshmi Sathyanand). Often I would think of her wondering about her approach to veena post marriage.
I chanced upon her younger brother's (Sri.Meduri Srinivassrinivasmeduri1234@rediffmail.com ) veena recital on SVBC Channel who is an artiste of repute. His versatility and manodharma revealed that he is Subbalakshmi's brother.
I was delighted to know that Subbalakshmi is in India (right now) and it seemed like old times as we chatted endlessly on phone (just like our childhood days). During our conversation I gathered details about her approach to veena. The above clipping of Thodi bears testimony to her meditative approach to veena.
Subbalakshmi is a wonderful veena vidushi, who plays her veena as an offering to God. She told me that she played during 'Sandhya" kalam (break of dawn and dusk, the junction between sunrise/sunset and vice versa) as worship by rendering vedic prayers on veena to Lord Ganesha, and "Siva Siva", the Pantuvarali krithi of Saint Thyagaraja everyday without fail .
Subbalakshmi also practises the krithis of Saint Thyagaraja, especially the two krithis (Rama Nannu Brovara and Undedi Ramudokkadu) in Hari Kambodhi as a spiritual exercise. She told me how she focused on the 'samyoga' (union) of feeling (bhava) and expression (technique) when she rendered the divine krithis of the great saint composer on her veena. Subbalakshmi cited the instance when she had to repeat the phrase "kshemakarudu" (in "Undedi Ramudu....) on veena innumerable times until she could merge her soul and the phrase through expression (her hand technique on veena).
Just like voice, there are true and false veenas too. The purity of approach and yogic way of playing veena are detected only in the absence of amplifying gadgets attached to the instrument. The resonance of veena is partly the prana shakthi of the player. Notice Subbalakshmi's veena without gadgets and one cannot miss the golden aura of sheer veena tones, which is the tone of her inner self resonating through the veena. The naked tones of prana combined with veena nada is audible only minus amplification. It is also noteworthy that Subbalakshmi has not wasted her pranic energy through strain and demands of over-performing. Also, h
er playing has not suffered the ill effects of "drishti" from jealous and antagonistic scrutiny, mostly an occupational hazard for artistes who are constantly exposed to public gaze.
Smt.Subbalakshmi Sathyanand is also an artiste with All India Radio/Doordarshan and performs regularly.


Sunday 5 June 2011

My Father's gems from Bhakta Ramadasu







My favourite Kabir Bhajans from Bhakta Ramadasu, music direction by my late father, Sri.G.Aswathama and sung by the legendary singer, late Sri.Mohammed Rafi.

Saturday 4 June 2011

Tantra in daily life (Part 6)

Goddess Saraswathi Devi
A child sits naturally erect while playing the veena, the 'veena dandi' while the veena rests on the child's lap, comes up to his/her arm level. The child is able to run its hands across the frets of the veena without looking down and stooping, the act causing his/her spine to bend. A child between between 4-6 years of age has to reach up for the 'dandi' to be able to play the veena and a child between 6 or 7 years of age to 13 or 14 is able to handle the 'dandi' by sitting naturally erect which results in a straight spinal posture. Why is it essential to keep the spine erect while playing the veena? (Kindly refer to my earlier posts on the science of veena and meditation through veena yoga).
Adults and tall practitioners may place cushions below the 'kudam'(the dome on the right side) to raise its height to elbow level and place correspondingly more number of cushions (more number than the right side)below the 'surakkai' (the left side rest of the veena) to make the left side of the veena raise above the right side, making it look inclined. The practitioner now sits between the right and left cushions to play the veena without placing the 'surakkai' on his/her thigh. The idea is to raise the height of the veena for the comfort of the practitioner, so that he/she does not have to bend or stoop to run the hands across the frets or to pluck the strings.
Many times I thought of even sitting in "Vajrasana" (this asana is most effective in accelerating the flow of pranic energy) for playing the veena, I should try it sometime! Rudra veena is played on "Vajrasana".
Now, as the practitioner settles comfortably with a raised veena according to the length of his/her torso, he/she should now concentrate on posture.
First push back shoulders, raise the chin up and look straight ahead as you play the veena. It is absolutely necessary to sit as erect as possible for free flow of pranic energy from the muladhara to upwards. The only disadvantage in such a posture is that the player cannot look down at the frets while playing. This may cause some slips in the swaras (notes), but for an advanced practitioner it may not be difficult. It helps to practice in a dark room without the lights on. To play veena for meditation, one must play without following the movements of the left hand with one's gaze.
The practitioner need not worry about the breath patterns, the melody and purity of the music which he/she is producing becomes the breath-regulator. At a point when the practitioner is lost in the melody, suspension of breath or 'kumbhakam' which is the key factor for 'kundalini yoga'(breath retention) becomes a natural phenomenon.
To practice as stated above on an "Ekanda Veena" ( veena which is not made of separate woods and joined at the neck region but made of a single piece of wood without a joint piece at the neck region) made of pure jack fruit wood yields maximum results. The benefits are bountiful and the practitioner witnesses great changes for the better in life. The pranic force generated by such a yogic rendering of veena surpasses all the benefits derived by usage of high potency vitamins, high potency nerve related or anti-stress medication. Veena is a magical instrument if rendered as per yogic principles.

Mantras for Veena:-

For practitioners who are unable to progress in veena for whatever reasons:-

BALATRIPURASUNDARI STOTRAM:-

"Veena Vaadana Thathparaam Thrinayanaam Mandasmithaam Sanmukheem
Vaamey Paashadhanurdharaam Thu Nikarey Baanam Thathaa Dakshiney.
Paaraavaaravihaarineem Paramayeem Brahmaasaney Samsthithaam
Vande Sankatanaashineem Bhagavatheem Maathangineem Baalikaam."

TRIPURASUNDARI ASHTAKAM:-

"Kadambavanavaasineem Kanakavallakeedhaarineem
Mahaarhamanihaarineem Mukhasamullasadvaaruneem.
Dayaavibhavakaarineem Vishadarochanaachaarineem
Thrilochanakutumbineem Thripurasundareem Aashraye."

TRIPURASUNDARI MAANASAPOOJA STOTRAM:-

"Veenaamupaanthey Khalu Vaadayanthyai
Nivedya Sesham Khalu Seshikaayai
Sowarnabhrungaaravinirgatheyna
Jaleyna Shudhdhaachamanam Vidheyhi."

The Eleventh chapter of Durga Sapthasathi.

All Durga related mantras.

"Vim" is the Bheejaakshara for veena.

Best Veena Mantra:-

"AIM HREEM SHREEM NAMO BHAGAVATHYAI VIM VEENAAYAI MAMA SANGEETHA VIDYAAM PRAYACHCHA SWAAHA."

(To be continued...........)





Saturday 28 May 2011

Advaita Ashram in California.

sFRANKLIN MERREL-WOLFF (1887-1985) was an American mystical philosopher.


















After formal education in philosophy and mathematics,at Stanford and Harvard, Wolff devoted himself to the goal of transcending the normal limits of human consciousness. After exploring various mystical teachings and paths, he dedicated himself to the path of Jnana yoga and the writings of Shanakara, Founder of the Advaita Vedanta School of Hindu philosophy. In 1936, Wolff experienced a profound sense of liberation and awakening, which provided the basis for his transcendental philosophy. He authored many books namely, The Philosophy Of Consciousness Without An Object, Pathways through To Space and Transformations In Consciousness The Metaphysica And Epistemology.

Excerpts from his work:-

"The Ways of Union

There are different ways of Yoga, primarily three: the Yoga of Devotion, the Yoga of Action, or of the Will, and the Yoga of Knowledge. There are technical forms of Yoga, such as Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Laya Yoga, Kundalini Yoga and so on. These are not really so much different forms as technical additives. The three forms are Devotion, corresponding to feeling; Karma, corresponding to the activistic element in consciousness (the technical term for it is conation); and Jnana Yoga, which is oriented to the cognitive faculties, the cognitive side. We'll not go into the relative valuation of these different forms of Yoga. Each will find his own way, ultimately. Aurobindo recommends a synthetic Yoga which involves going through all three forms, successively, or simultaneously. It's not necessary, but he may have a good idea there.

The valuation of them, as to which leads the furthest and so forth, is different with different writers. There's a tendency in human nature to regard the form which I take as therefore being the highest. Any "I am." I'm speaking to the I in you. In other words, there is a bit of egoism in that. Shankara places Jnana Yoga as the highest. Aurobindo rates Bhakti Yoga as the highest. It affords two different ways of interpreting the Bhagavad Gita, which deals with these three different forms of Yoga, the trimarga. Shankara would say the first, which is treated in the second chapter of the Gita, the Yoga of Knowledge, is the highest. But if you're unable to meet that altitude, then there is provided for you at a somewhat simpler and easier level, the Yoga of Action. And if that too is a little too much for you, there is the final form of the Yoga of Devotion, an orientation to the Person of the Divine, if you please, rather than to the Power or the Wisdom of the Divine, to use the religious form of language.

But what we'll sketch tonight will belong to Jnana Yoga, the Yoga of Knowledge, the Yoga I know. I sympathize with all who choose the other paths. There is no rejection whatever. But this I know.

Now I'll outline a philosophic position, to orient an attitude favorable to Jnana Yoga. It's for you to place, for the time being, in your emptied minds, not something you are forced to agree with. I ask you to take a journey with me and see how you like the scenery. If it is not to your taste, then you may turn otherwhere; it is perfectly all right. Just a journey, to see the scenery, if you can."

www.merrel-wolff.org

Above are photos of Ajna Ashram (the above links to site regarding the ashram). The ashram is not inhabited by anybody due to weather conditions. The photo of the homa gundam and stone-platform for meditation in one of the rooms in the ashram. Below is a youtube clipping of this advaitic ashram in California.

Wednesday 25 May 2011

MY MOM, MY ICON!

My mother and Guru, Smt.Kamala Aswathama was one of the many celebrity awardee mothers who received an award on the occasion of the event, "Salute To Mothers" on Mother's Day this month. Event was organised by Sri Krishna Sweets and held in Narada Gana Sabha. A dynamic person who initially trained to become a pilot, but had to become a veena artiste due to my grandfather's insistence, she has trained many successful professional veena artistes. She continues to train veena aspirants.
The most memorable occasion of her life was when she performed along with her Guru, Smt. Kalpagam Swaminathan in Music Academy during music season in the year 1957. At 78, living independently, she knows only how to help others and never sought any assistance from anybody. An epitome of dynamism, she has performed unimaginable feats all through her life! MY MOM IS MY ICON!

Below are snaps from the awards function ( to enlarge click on photos):-














Friday 20 May 2011

Tantra in daily life (Part 5)

GODDESS SARASWATHI DEVI

Goddess Annapoorna Devi: Good digestive system, cures Irritable Bowel Syndrome
, anaemia, malnourishment. It is commonly believed that by praying to this Goddess one can obtain plentiful food like grains, delicious eatables etc. While this could be true only to a certain extent, the main effect of praying to this Goddess is felt in absorbing and digesting the best elements of whatever food that is consumed by the devotee. Hygenic and fresh food (essentially vegetarian and consumed within 8 hours of cooking) contains the best of 'tattva' (nature). The core and essence of this 'tattva' is absorbed when consumed by the devotee, enhancing his/her mental vision/clarity and physical glow/lustre . The grace of Goddess Annapoorna Devi results in healthy and charismatic appearance.

Goddess Saraswathi: Intellect, enhanced analytical skills, power of speech, shrewdness, extraordinary mental strength, skill in fine arts and occult subjects. Interestingly this Goddess's boon of art is a result of all the mental skills bestowed by Her. Ideal for students and almost everybody who seeks knowledge.

Goddess Lakshmi: Prosperity, contentment, optimism and fulfillment in every sphere of life. Prayers to this Goddess brings tremendous peace of mind and contentment. Contrary to popular belief (that this Goddess showers Her grace through cash and jewellery), Goddess Lakshmi gives great contentment that cannot be obtained even after possessing enormous wealth like vast estates, cash or jewellery. "Lakshmi Kataaksham" (Grace of Goddess Lakshmi) is visible in lustrous looks, tranquility and serenity of features, absolute contentment and a hint of a smile at all times.
(To be continued.....)

Tuesday 19 April 2011

SRI GURU GEETA

The holy scripture, " Sri Guru Geeta" reveals how Lord Shiva in His lessons on "Guru" to Goddess Parvathi strongly condemns fake "Gurus". Sri Guru Geeta is a part of Skaanda Puranam, authored by Sage Vyasa. This sacred scripture contains 351 slokas. Gems like excerpts about fake Gurus as Lord Shiva addresses the following slokas to Goddess Parvathi:-

198)Gnaanaheeno Guru Sthyaajyo Midhyaavaadee Vidambakaha
Svavishraanthim Na Jaanaathi Parashaanthim Karothi Kim.

Meaning:
Do not recognise a foolish man as Guru. One who is quarrelsome and deceptive cannot achieve his own peace. When that is the case, he is not eligible to bring peace to his devotees.

199)Shilaayaaha Kim Paragnaanam Shilaasangha Prathaaraney
Svayam Tharthum Na Jaanaathi Param Nisthaaraye Thkadham.

Meaning:
Such a person is like a big stone. He has the tendency to cheat few devotees. When this fellow himself does not know how to cross the shore of human life, how can he lead others?!

200)Na Vandaneeyaa Sthey Kashtam Darshanaa Dbhraanthikaarakaaha
Varjaye Ththaanguroon Doorey Dheerasya Thu Samaashrayeth.

Meaning:
Fake Gurus who terrorise devotees just by their gaze are not fit to be worshipped. Such a Guru is to be chased away. Always worship a Guru who has knowledge of Self.

201)Paashandinaha Paaparathaa Naasthikaa Bhedabudhdhayaha
Sthreelampataa Duraachaaraaha Kruthaghnaa Bakavruththayaha.

Meaning:
Pompous Gurus who are interested in bad vices, self-advertisement, atheism, propagation of controversial subjects, debaucherous, ungrateful and indulging in fake prayers are to be discarded.

202)Karmabhrashtaaha Kshamaanashtaa Nindyatharkaishcha Vaadinaha
Kaaminaha Krodhinashchaiva Himsraashchandaashshathaa Sthadhaa.

Meaning:
Gurus who are unethical, immoral, impatient, who indulge in wasteful arguments, full of desires, aggressive and short-tempered and like to harass/torture, who are adamant and horrific by nature, yet advertise themselves as Gurus are also to be rejected and discarded.

203)Gnaanalupthaa Na Karthavyaa Mahaapaapaa Sthadhaa Priye
Ebhyo Bhinno Guru Ssevya Ekabhakthyaa Vichaarya Cha.

Meaning:
Never consider a foolish man or a sinner as Guru. After careful inquiry, identify the correct person who has knowledge of Self and worship Him with faith.

204)Sishyaa Danyathra Deveshi Na Vadhey Dhyasya Kasyachith
Naraanaam Cha Phalapraapthau Bhakthi Reva Hi Kaaranam.

Meaning:
Devi, please do no preach this to anybody other than the best devotee. A devotee attains the fruit of knowledge only through devotion.

Sunday 10 April 2011

Tantra in daily life (Part 4)


LORD SHIVA

Gods and Goddesses are characterized by specific 'tattva' (nature) exuded by Their respective forms. We pray to particular Gods in the forms of Maha Vishnu, Shiva, Subrahmanya etc., and Goddesses in the forms of Maha Lakshmi, Saraswathi, Durga, Kali, Annapoorna Devi, Kamakshi, Meenakshi, Visalakshi etc. because they are our family deities ("kula deivam"), or as a ritual to fulfill a certain religious commitment. Rarely it is also due to love for the deity.
By worshiping a particular deity over a significant amount of time, the 'tattva' of the deity is imbibed by the devotee as he is gradually able to create a fine thread of connection with the particular 'tattva'/nature or quality of the deity. Therefore the devotee is succesfully able to perceive the 'tattva' by sponging off the quality or nature of the deity through effective chanting of mantras or meditation on the chosen deity.
Here are a few 'tattvas' imparted by Gods and Goddesses ( material benefits are not mentioned here):-

Lord Maha Vishnu: Tranquilising, peaceful and coolness of mind.
Chanting of Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam is the Maha Shanthi mantra which yields enormous peace and wisdom. This stotra, combined with Lakshmi Ashtotharam bestows great peace of mind, clarity of thought, elevation of mind and wisdom. Chanting of this Maha Shanthi mantra solves critical problems in life. When "Aapadudhdhdaaraka Stotra" is chanted after Sahasranamam, even the most critical health problems are solved. The essential 'tattva' one derives by chanting this stotra are wisdom, maturity and a peaceful demeanour. Worship of Maha Vishnu through Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam or Ashtaakshari (Om Namo Narayanaya) is highly suitable for hyper-active, highly strung,aggressive, nervous and sensitive people. Suited for people with high blood pressure.

Lord Rama: Willpower, mental strength and self confidence. Worship of Lord Rama enhances self-esteem, will power, strength of mind, ability to get rid of bad vices. The mere chanting of Rama nama yields astounding benefits. "Sri Rama" (Sri-yin, Rama-yang) balances the ida-pingala nadis in the body ensuring proper blood circulation and general good health.

The mela raga Hari Kambodhi is a Vishnu Tattva raga, extending to Rama Avathaara. "Rama Nannu Brovara", "Dinamani Vamsa", "Undedi Ramudu Okkadu", "Enthara", "Enduku Nirdaya"... etc. are vibrant krithis of Saint Thyagaraja providing deep insights into the majesty of Lord Vishnu and Rama Avathara. The rendition of these krithis are to be treated as meditation on Lord Vishnu/Rama for great spiritual elevation.

Lord Krishna:- Contentment. The Jagath Guru, Giver of Knowledge of the Ultimate Truth, He offers solace to the deprived. Srimad Bhagavatham is an ice pack for the agitated mind as Lord Krishna makes Himself felt through this grand scripture even in this day and age!!!!
Combined worship of Lord Krishna and Radha balances the yin and yang in oneself bringing about contentment and ending the search for temporary and worldly love. Quest for external love and companionship is discovered within through worship of Radha and Krishna. The worship of the Divine Lovers results in filling the void in the practitioner.

Raga Mohanam and Bilahari.

Lord Venkateswara/Balaji: Aptitude and attainment of high profile life, luxuries, material enjoyments and spiritual contentment.
The Sri Yantra, which is the yantra of Goddess Balatripurasundari was installed in the sanctum santorum of Lord Venkateswara Temple in Tirupathi. It is because of this "Bala Yantra" that the Lord is known by the name "Balaji!"

Raga Abheri and Surati.

Lord Shiva:- Spiritual bliss and detachment.
For people pursuing the spiritual path. Equanimity of mind.

Raga Panthuvarali, Hamsanandi and Kambodhi.

Lord Vighneswara::- Rejuvenation. Worship of "Muladhara Murthy" (One who resides in the muladhara chakra or base chakra) activates the chakra, removing blockages and rejuvenating the entire system. The practitioner is able to perceive a burst of energy within and the rush of adrenalin. Suitable for depressed, dispirited and weak people.

Raga Nata, Gowla, Hamsadhwani and Malahari.

Lord Subrahmanya:- Dynamism, optimism, outgoing and action-oriented.Worship of Lord Shanmukha is highly suitable for the pessimistic, shy and vulnerable lot. Worship of this God makes one assertive and bold in confrontational situations. Ideal for fighting court cases and defeating enemies.

Raga Shanmukhapriya.

Lord Anjaneya:-Fearlessness, courage and valour.Worship of Lord Hanuman is ideally suited for people wanting to get rid of their phobias. Also for people to come out of imprisonment, fighting critical situations and mental ailments such as schizophrenia, paranoia and hallucinations.

Raga Athana and Kanada.

(To be continued......)